Above: Jan Kaleb – Inside a Red Bubble
Above: visitors enjoy the works on show
Published: 20 April, 2012
by ANDREW JOHNSON
THE dawn of the 20th century – just like now – was a period of fast-moving technological change that created massive social upheaval.
But whereas we have computers, and Twitter and mobile phones making the world a smaller place, our forebears had to cope with trains, aeroplanes and telephones.
A contemporary art exhibition on this theme – part of the Czech Open celebrations to mark the 2012 Olympics in London – is currently being held at the Candid Arts Trust Gallery in Torrens Street, Angel.
The Czechs have been partnered with Islington as the venue for their cultural showcase in the run up the world’s most celebrated festival of sport.
Coal and Steel Disorient Express features works of art by both British and Czech artists that relate to the era of Modernism at the turn of the last century.
Notable British participants include Gavin Turk and Bob and Roberta Smith. After it closes on April 28, the exhibition will move to Prague for a period in June, and then return to Islington in August.
A spokeswoman for the Czech Centre said the exhibition is “inspired by the original Olympic idea, from the beginning of the 20th century to link sports and arts”.
She added: “The name of the exhibition refers to the fascination for machines and machinery which the Czechs share with the British, including popular enthusiasm for model train carriages and steam engines.
“This era is symbolised by Frantiesk Kupka’s painting Amorpha Fugue in Tow Colours, which is 100 years old this year and has inspired the visuals of the Czech Olympic teams’ uniform for 2012.”